tv History Bookshelf Craig Nelson The Age of Radiance CSPAN December 30, 2017 4:00pm-5:15pm EST
development of nuclear science beginning with the discovery of x-rays in the 1890's. this was recorded at the new york public >> the genius of the atomic energy. he told the present of freedom that you must have a four you could either be as heartless, uncomplaining servant for the most fearful and terrible master men had ever known. demand with his responsibility but the genie told him that now
that he had been freed, his discovery could not put him back in the bottle. he had to decide how best to use them. tonight's presentation of the age of radiance renovates the tab of the men and the din in much more rich and detailed form. the book tells him him many interwoven stories of scientists who interest in the area and sometimes killed them. have hitler's adrianne persecution drove from germany the very scientists who discovered that have given him mastery of the world and of the twin pallets of the twin pallets of apocalyptic war and he's going energy sources taken by nuclear research. story as told by the speaker tonight, the firemen who battled the disaster at your chernobyl loom. like most human discovers, neither a good output evil or stuff. this is what we humans use.
booksnelson has written on many varied topics. rocket men told the story of the apollo moon mentioned very thomas payne profile that philosopher. the first heroes was about the doolittle raid on japan in the early part of world war ii and let's get lost features the opposition traveled to unusual parts of the world and the odd experiences that accompanied them. other things he has written have appeared in medicare, the wall heeet journal and so on, lives not too far from here in greenwich village. the author of the age of radiance. craig nelson. aig: thank you someone. it is and is a
part of my work and my own personal library, my branch library is mulder street and one of the first remember reading was a dr. seuss book called to think i saw it on mulberry street. my libraries were david bowie. there is nothing in this book, this dr. seuss book as good as seeing david bowie. fold onow history itself and those are some of the things we will be talking about. five years ago when i first started working on this book, if you asked me what radiation was, i would've said oh it is scary, dangerous, infectious, cancer-causing, evil and this is what many of you think as well. i still think many of those things but they are tempered with a lot of other ideas. the very first thing i learned about was the fact that radiation was made up of -- caused by atoms that are little
fat atoms. they are adorable. they are too fat for their own good, they are soaked that that they break the bonds of nature that create material word -- world. -- create the material world. they are spitting out the subatomic particles or the gamma rays. you can think of them as being the hollywood starlets of the periodic table, they are unstable and bulimic. there they are, that is your little fat uranium atoms being all spinning. while they are spinning, they create this -- like how it was they create this time about them. when marie curie went to into lab, she would leave out uranium so it would low like aquatic fireflies on the wall. someone noticed after she put them -- radium 08, the walls
were still glowing. when you pick up the silvery plutonium that in reagan was making, it was one like a puppy and it was so strange to feed of this metal that you think would be called and instead it was one like a puppy. those elementsr for holding that puppy too long was called high amputation. it is sort of a scary puppy we are talking about. really, the entire subatomic world has this just -- disturbing quality. we talk about radiation overtime as a half-life and we think about this inert object that is sending out these rays that are dangerous to us and how disturbing that is. but really, the entire subatomic world is like that. example, let'sne say you are flying in a plane and you look at the window and you see a bunch of specs. because you are a world-class physicist, you take out your slide rule and you make a
mathematical portrait of the way those specs appear and disappear , the speed of the specs and after a while you have created something of an idea mathematically. then you take that your binoculars and you realize that you have been flying over water and the specs are whitecaps. and you know they are powered by waves and being a world-class physicist, you know there is a music of the spheres, of nature and there isn't much melody to this music and there is a lot of rhythm. you can take a whole new set of calculations based on the waves. this is how in the subatomic world we can use two different -- different instruments, our eyes and almanac was in his example to knows particles, the whitecaps are ways -- this is how something in the abatomic world can be both part of like a photon and a way. so all of it is creepy and disturbing. but before we get too much of the science, i want to backup.
one of the things that is sad about history the way we learned in school is that we learn things like the date of this and that when this great man was born, when he died, the date of that battle. but the guys started history had a different idea altogether. he said that history is about one thing and one thing only, and that is how i got a story for you --, once upon a time, there was a little girl who was the youngest of five children of a family that had once been -- prosperous but had fallen on hard times. when she was 17 her own sister said let's make a deal, you go work and support me for two years while i go to university and then i will turn around and do the same thing for you. at thes a bizarre idea time because at that moment, in that time and in that ice it was illegal for women over the age of 12 to get an education. and they were getting around that by attending something called the floating university
which floated so the authorities could not track who was running it and throw them in a labor. this floating university did a fantastic job. because she got into medical school at the university of offs and off she went and money went to be a nanny into work of her. blood jobs she gets, she is really unhappy and it is terrible but then she started working for the giraffe skis. they are a fantastic family, a run a sugarbeet presentation about 60 kilometers outside of warsaw. their six kidsnd are just adorable. but the oldest son comes home from school and he is casimir. and they fall head over heels in love. for a year they are dating and finally he says i'm going to tell my parents that we will get married and he goes and does that. all the kids know about it and they think this is great, everybody loves her but the parents say no way.
you're not marrying this money was nobody, your marrying up and they refused to let them get married. me, id please wait for will work this out and talk them into marrying you and they see each other secretly for six months and the parents find out and they fire her. so now she goes back to warsaw and she is living at her father's house and she is heartbroken, she is 19 and the letter comes from her. i finished school, and engaged to be married and now it is your turn to come to paris. but she is so in love she can't do it. she just can't give up her first love of her life. arrives,the letter forget it, my parents will never let me married, or get it. decades later, he would become a famous mathematician in warsaw. he would be frequently seen in the main square of that city staring up at the enormous statue of the national hero roland marie curry which is who
she grew up to be. because she did not marry castor and because she liked paris. i love the store so much because it really shows you don't always follow your heart, especially if you're 19. but it shows you what would have happened if she stayed with him and never left poland, how our future would have been changed because as marie curie, she would go on to discover the fundamental forces of radioactivity area she would discover radium and polonium and realize that radiation was an atomic force, that it didn't come from the outside, it came from within. they would discover that because it had such an effect on fast-growing cells, you can use it to treat cancer. but i do all of you have heard the wonderful story of marie and were fantastic couple they were and how perfect they were for each other but let's forget about that for a minute, let's talk about somebody else. after appeared died, marie had a incredible affair with paul
-- langevin. these are the greatest minds of in 1927. she had an affair with paul on vin.een -- paul lange she and paul have a fantastic relationship, their letters back and forth are so passionate, she comes back to life after being widowed by. an early death, he was run over by a cart and was affected by working with radioactive materials. so they're madly in love and it is by she has a whole second life, except there is a problem in that paul is married and even
of his wife doesn't mind that he had a mistress, she mines that it is the most famous woman in france. the wife has a brother and the brother rent a newspaper and they start talking about how marie curie is this homewrecker and mr. say that she is jewish. he becomes such a scandal that when she gets ready to go off to sweden to get her second nobel she goes up einstein and says what should i do? he says go get the prize. that relationship falls apart as all of you women have guessed, paul goes back to his wife. before that relationship and at breaks marie's heart all over again, paul says i have this real go-getter named fred and you should hire him to work in your lab. and afteres hire fred
a year you will never guess what happens, fred says marie, i want to marry her daughter irene and marie has a heart attack. marryys no, you will not -- marie was wrong, fred and then have a fantastic marriage, they are more important to us today that marie if you're free because they discovered artificial radiation. that is a fundamental element of stability medicine and it is important to mention today as a microscope and the reason i told you this long, giant store is because the end of the story is womanarie was the first to win a nobel prize. and her daughter was the second. good going, iran. discoverd and iran
artificial radiation, everybody around the world starts irradiating everything. addedoup to become a good his villainous chemist, name was auto han -- otto han. and none of you have heard of her. i would like to tell you her story. the first university professor in the history of germany. she was the second woman to live -- received an advanced degree the 500 year history of the universe, she was running the physics institute for 12 years at the most important research institution in the world when she was kicked out or having jewish ancestry. .he ends up in sweden there she is at the age of 60, all washed up, she doesn't speak
swedish, her bosses gels of her and hates her, she has no quivering, no health, she is not being paid anything and she feels washed up and alone and she can't believe this has happened to her. comes on christmas and they have something called -- this is like when you go to 7-eleven hundred and five feet jerky except it is made of ash and it has the consistency of jell-o. it is the worst thing i have ever put in my mouth. they have christmas dinner of and and they go for a walk all she can talk about is her villainous chemist x partner auto han who -- and his mysterious findings. what he is doing is he is pointing a stream of neutrons at uranium and he is getting bizarre results that no one understands. and that they may be their instruments are wrong, maybe the
chemistry is wrong, they don't what is going on. sits down on a log in the middle of estoppel on christmas day in sweden and she takes out a pencil and a piece of april. andtakes the uranium atom takes the stuff they are getting out of it, how much it weighs appliesly and then she the theory of relativity. she discovers fission. ottoauto goes back, -- ack --goes ba this triggers an incredible sensation among them who are fleeing hitler's. thehe united states, all of anglo-american scientists are working on radar. they don't care about vision, they think this idea is just wacky.
everyone was fleeing hitler's is thinking to themselves -- what if it up hitler's gets the atomic bomb and we don't have it? normally americans are told the story of the making of the atomic bomb as einstein wrote some decorations on a board and but -- in fact it took three of the most terrifying experiment in the history of science to make these in the first one happened in the middle of the city of chicago. he was supposed to create the first atomic reactor in the woods -- in the argonne would put the people building the facility had a strike and so the university of chicago president said we don't have football here anymore, so nobody is using our football stadium so you can use that and they found this little squash court inside the football stadium in the middle of the city of chicago and this is where he created the first nuclear reactor. i called the third most
dangerous experiment in american history since what if something had gone wrong with the first of the reactor -- but nothing went wrong, it was the most perfect experiment anyone had ever seen. he has the patent on nuclear reactors -- this out newly reactors. but one thing very funny spiesed in that -- soviet who were sending word of this back to moscow, there is a translation issue. instead of squash courts which is where he was, for almost three decades, the soviet union thought the first nuclear reactor was in a pocket patch. now, i know that some of you came here because you heard there's going to be a reading and i know that some of you are angry that i haven't read anything. so i will read a little bit for you at this time so you are disappointed and serious -- in 1921, a young woman named catherine was told she was not
long for the earth and that since she would die. catherine decided to spend the rest of her days as a wife to winthrop page, a chicago millionaire as old as her daddy and live that was on the page family ranch which they in a desert of lavender. this is between the pickles and the santa christo mountains. named for their sunsets. the following year, a pale jewish boy would fetch a serious cough as doctors suspected tuberculosis but that his chain-smoking. and showed up to the ranch she taught them how to ride a horse and if -- in every kind of weather. bob returned to mexico with his brother frank and this time, kathryn page whose death would not come for decades and whose husband would never come last took them 9500 feet into the peaks to a cavern with a fireplace made of clay, surrounded by 154 acres of
alpine meadow, feels of clover and heart stopping abuse of the pecos river in these mounds. the tube was commenced their debt to rent the place, and this rubber would continue as an adult i taken by this for $10,000 in 1947, in frank went there is just that good, loving our great guy dreams of the american west, riding horseback, thousands of miles of its colorado, living on vienna sausages, cheese and whiskey, here we have a lesson in history teachers. if we have a man who was the object of your interest and you're not paying them in up tryntion, history teaches chocolate covered raisins, cheese and whiskey. his days at west, he brought back to a friend, my two great loves our physics at new mexico, it is a pity they can't be combined.
one of the areas where he took a ride with catherine was to a volcanic crater and through a canyon with a stream along with this. the canyon was named for the trees, the next and work for those trees was los alamos and i grew up in a jungle town limits while people but i just love the southwest. i think it is beautiful. two kinds of bombs were made at los alamos. the restaurant was made from uranium and it was so simple in the engineering that they never tested it before dropping it on hiroshima. the other time it was tested was when it was detonated. carries a this bomb gun inside were a shot of uranium is thrown into ebola uranium. but the one problem they have was they didn't know how much uranium they needed in each end of this device.
so, otto went out into the canyon and created this guillotine device. you could change the size of the plug and another set of washers were he to change the size of the ball and then he would drop the washers with his guillotine and they would pass through the evolve for a couple of seconds and create a very split-second .f super cut we were trying to come as close as we could to an atomic explosion without blowing ourselves up. i want you to notice what this bomb looks like, here comes the plutonium bomb which looks like that. there is quite a difference here between those two and that is when the physicist at los alamos first theoretical put together the idea for the plutonium bomb, they have the concept that the plutonium
coming-out of hanford, washington would be extremely pure and it was not that your. what they needed to do was to figure out how to compress it from the size of an orange to the size of a marble. the only to do that was to perfectly imploded on all of these, all these wires you see are the detonation charges that are all firing in pervasive finnish city to compress the plutonium. the guy who came up with this idea was my favorite hungarian and we're scientist. he created the fundamentals of modern computing at a time when the most popular computer -- he called his computer maniac. he was such a good mathematician that his wife said he can count everything except calories. he upset people because he likes to play german pop music really loud on his record but he was
the one who did the calculations that made the plutonium bomb and nagasaki bomb work. i love him because he was such a natty dresser that when everyone went bar writing in the grand canyon, he wore a three use it. there is a corner at princeton called the von nyman carter. he crashed so often into this corner that it is named for him to this day. the government explain to americans that the reason we had atomic bombs and nobody asked it was because we knew atomic secrets and everyone assumed this meant the geniuses at los alamos but it didn't mean that. what they were doing at los alamos was engineering area the real genius was being done at up ridge, tennessee at the largest building in the world at that time.
where because they were creating the fuel that goes inside the to do it withd all of these different methods, one method was a thermal diffusion method, another was a drip diffusion method and then they had a proton merry-go-round, the cyclotron. that was going on there and they -- they had vision devices which was the plutonium. but the breaking became out of oak ridge was they had to discover a special sealant to make the material and that ended -- and enough in american homes as teflon. one thing i am very sad about is the fact that the atomic age is ending, the bombs were very beautiful. let's look at 13 of them together.
so, now we have the most dangerous experiment in history of science in america, when in recovers made the nuclear reactor was having lunch in 1940 with his protege and were telling he said i don't know why we are working and making fission bombs. it is going to create so much hydrogen could merge atoms and create a fusion bomb, just like starlight and edward teller became so obsessed with this that he spent the next 20 years of his life trying to create thermonuclear fusion weapons. he would sit at his desk at los alamos and come up with bomb ideas and my favorite idea of his was something called the backyard bomb. this was a bomb that was so enormous that it would kill so many people -- you didn't need to take it and trap it on anybody, you could set it up in your backyard. he is edward teller's first task, this is 1952. this is when the bikini was first introduced.
like the fusion bomb, it is small and devastating. this is called abrazo bomb which was supposed to be four megatons -- it was creating a firewall for miles in diameter. it hadple who viewed seen plenty of atomic bombs and they said they had never seen anything like it. it was like watching a diseased brain appear overhead. it started snowing and the snow is radioactive fallout. it had incinerated little island it was set on. one of the incredible side effects of all of this was that it infected a japanese fishing boat called the lucky dragon one of thet and fishermen died on the way that refer anyone figured out what had happened and all of the tuna that was affected was sold in the japanese market. right after that happened, the movie godzilla came out and while many of us thought godzilla was funny because the special effects were so cheap and it was like a hand puppet
and things like that, many of the japanese watched it and they saw this movie as being about both the monster that america had inflated on the diffusion and nagasaki and now with their own tinnitus, and also, but their children were turning into, their descendents were going to be like this and many of the japanese could not sit through the whole thing, they would get so upset they would have to run out of the theater. >> were those of ute wars and buddhists and are wondering when in this private lecture i will introduce a note of humility before the universe, here it is, kind of out of order, many people ask me if there is a possibility that there will be dirty bombs -- that terrorists will have nuclear bombs and the worst attack in american history was done with box cutters and flying lessons. i don't think the next step is nuclear. however, this is something that could make you nervous.
we had this huge number of atomic plants all over the continental unitas dates, some of these are where weapons are stored, some are where weapons are produced. lines, thel of these transportation network and then we -- since we don't have any way of disposing of nuclear 12 atomic plant have nuclear materials sitting out in the open in swimming for. so if there is some into befriend about with terrorism, this would be it. one of the great things that is the next time you see dr. strangelove, instead of watching it as a wacky comedy, you can watch it as a historic documentary. in fact, a lot of it turns out to be true. -- of the fundamental things almost anytime someone in the movie is ranting and raving having nuclear holocaust,
only 20 or 25 million americans will die and we can put the best and the brightest in mineshaft. we can have two women for every men. all of this was serious. the time by nuclear strategist. kahnf whom -- hermann tried to say he deserved royalties. because of many of his theories were used. the reset it did not work that way. him using a saw hotline wasn't invented yet. a major part of the cuban missile crisis was that th thaed to translate theselaboriously ad to be read in really were 11 hours delay. the hotline came after all of this. but the major thing about dr. strangelove that is incredible to me is the fact that the doomsday machine that is the
joke that ends the movie and ends the world, it was invented, what happened is that during the carter administration from truman to carter, that nuclear strategy of united states was that we were going to drop our entire atomic arsenal on china and russia and kill everybody and destroy everything. entering the carter administration, they came up with a new strategy which was that we would only drop ever atomic weapons on the kremlin. the people behind the strategy but this 1 -- wrote this wonderful article on how well it was going to work and they caught a decapitation, they were going to cut off the head of the soviet government. the soviet government read this article in foreign affairs magazine and got upset. so they came up with a thing where it misses attacked the soviet union and no word came from moscow, mrs. would automatically fly out and zach united states. here inoomsday machine
dr. strangelove would come to pass 30 years later. it dr. strangelove is a significant movie -- the most significant one is china syndrome. i would like to say that america's first learned about nuclear science from seeing movies and pictures of the victims of hiroshima and nagasaki and then they learned about atomic power plants with three mile island melted down at the same time as the china syndrome was in theaters. so, your walter cronkite announcing that what could be the end of the world is happening in pennsylvania while jane fonda is giving a powerpoint presentation about how nuclear power plants work and same that if something bad happens, it can destroy an area the size of pennsylvania. this, this coincidence of three mile island and china syndrome unless the biggest fears of protest in the
united states which culminated with one million people in central park. this really stopped nuclear powered that, we got 20% of our electricity from nuclear then and that is still all we get now. a long time ago, for many years, we were told that driving the atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki ended world war ii. now we don't think that is true anymore, we think that what got the japanese to surrender was that they were going to comment on our side in that work and instead, have the japanese did discover a settlement. they are lost 60 cities. much,did not matter that the idea to drop the bomb was actually to terrify stalin.
you can see that hiroshima nagasaki, they were the beginnings of the cold war and we now believe that the and of the cold war was caused by chernobyl. this was because when chernobyl exploded and santa clara this as a 400 hiroshima's across all of europe, it broke the soviet citizens believe in its government has been competent and trustworthy. then believev and this is what ended the soviet union. the cold war started and ended with nuclear holocaust. struggle -- extraordinary thing about chernobyl is that the reason it created such a horrible crowd is that they changed the group of it so that they could make both electricity and warheads with the same power plant and it all began as a test of a safety idea, they were
going to see if they could run down the plant blown enough, if they could restart it without any problem and when that failed, it all went to hell. has spent almost three decades studying chernobyl and they figured out that 75 people died. 57 were first responders and the others were the teenage children of families who didn't evacuate the zone and who drink the milk of contaminated cows and got cancer and the thyroid. speaking a little closer to home, fukushima is a great story because the plant survive the incredible earthquake and it would have survived the tsunami except the cap the backup batteries in the basement. that was the only flaw in this. what happened was, they had to battle three different problems at the same time, they had hydrogen gas exploding in the
atmosphere, they had reactors exploding and then they also had these cooling tanks with the old, used fuel, that was also exploding sukkah came from three different directions. at one point, one of the most frightening things in the book is learning how the head of the utility called the prime minister said there is nothing we can do, we are back during the plant, we are giving up. but the on-site manager insisted on going forward and he came up with a system of the fukushima 50 where 400 men were cycled in and out of the plant. many of whom were the equivalent of day laborers that you hire in the parking lot of cause cap -- cosco or work for the u cusa who went in and they would even reset their dissemination because if they got too high a rating they would be pulled out of the workforce. they would hide how much they were getting and they were the ones that ashley said this from being a global holocaust.
if anyone does need seven to get their children, you can get the nice atomic energy lab, it comes with my favorite device which is a cloud chamber which is a supersaturated salt and you can actually see subatomic particles moving around in that fog. i say that we are seeing the end of the atomic age and i like this picture as a symbol of that. ais first came out as coloring book that elementary schools would buy to give their children to learn about the history of atomic age, it is about this little boy named andy and he is playing with his dog and the dog runs off into the nevada test site and they find the dog covered in radioactive dust. so during this time and he learns about the wonders of nuclear power and if the medicine and here he is reunited with the dog while in the background, nevada is still continuing its nuclear test. so this image was originally this educational magazine the children were supposed to read.
then it became the sort of horrific picture of nuclear winter as andy and his dog were the last survivors of nuclear war. now you can buy it as a humorous mousepad. i think that history is fantastic. all this time that we have been worried about being contaminated and attached by atomic bombs of the soviet union, the biggest danger to americans comes from the tests done in nevada. it has now contaminated the entire continental united states and 11,000 americans died every year from that pollution left over pollution from nevada. so, there is a little good news in all this, one of the pieces of news is that we spent a number of decades studying the survivors of your shame and nagasaki and i would imagine higherey would have 50%
cancer rates than normal, 70% higher cancer rates, instead, all this time they only have 1% higher cancer rates. so all of this is sort of mixed. the reason i say we are in the final stages of the atomic age is because if i had to, i would rather the nuclear power plant and a coal power plant, every time we have one of these disasters happen, the government and the company does such a terrible job managing it that they have lost all their political capital. nuclear powera plant, to maintain it and to fix it if something goes wrong, you need subsidies, government subsidies and who is going to ?ote for that russian mar there is a possibility of 10 the breaker. california now has air pollution reported from china -- the chinese problem with coal.
i really wish there was a technological breakthrough but i don't think there's going to be one. i think nuclear is on the way out as far as power goes and then as far as atomic bombs go, the united states and the soviet union spent over $5 trillion on nuclear arms and the last time anyone use nuclear arms was hiroshima and nagasaki in 1945 and every time some of you gets new clear arms, everyone gets nervous about it. but they never get used. never usedd stalin the nuclear bombs. there is a fantastic conundrum who's whatred nobel a fortune found of the nobel prize said his great dream in life was to a weapon that was so powerful that it would make was obsolete. tallyeople believe that with his backyard bomb ideas came up with that idea. in the cold war
stayed cold was because everybody had nuclear arms. thatcheran met with and said my great dream is to abolish all nuclear weapons she said are you crazy? what do think is keeping us from world war iii? --rybody has this nuclear these nuclear weapons. one of the great questions was heould telller get teh nobel piece prize? i don't want to leave you on this terribly sad story. remember when we first got together, we were talking about marie curie's boyfriend and all of that fun stuff us in our grammar how i told you that los alamos was the name of the tree that they named the canyon after us and mark where i grew up in texas, we also had an alamo which was a church also named for that treat ms with on the radio, someone asked me what was the first childhood memory i had. i remember that when i was a little boy, i used to have these
strange dreams about the alamo where i was helping people escape their dim but it was sort of the spiritual thing going on. it was a very weird dream and i can figure out what was going on and then when i was a teenager, i went back to visit the alamo and i went around the corner and there was this scene attached, the memorial for everyone who had died and on that scene was this fantastic angel carrying the honor of the debt of to heaven. so now in my job as a historian, when i tell you a great story about marie curie does brings her alive for you today -- what i hope you remember -- i may be no angel but other than that, then the boys dream has come true. for your time and attention, i thank you kindly. [applause] >> does anybody have any questions?
>> what you said about world war thatmany people believe mutual assured destruction saved us from one were three, such as the u.s. against the soviet union for pakistan against india but not the -- now people feel that we were -- were very lucky. crisis, 1983,ile 1995, so where do you come down on this area? do feel we were lucky? or that it really disables from
what were three? >> at think both are true. one of the most friday moments in the book is when brzezinski -- carter's security advisor is woken up in the middle of the -- thend told we are soviet union has attacked and they are sending in the missiles. he weighed half an hour to get the confirmation call before he calls the president and that call him of the confirmation call and say it is true. it is much worse than we originally thought. we thought it was 120 missiles and it was 12,000 missiles. so he is sitting there and he is not going to wake up his wife because he knows they will be dead in a couple of minutes. as he gets ready images of her to call carter, this is at 4:00 in the morning. made ane rings, somebody mistake, we put in the training tapes. this happens over and over again where the soviet are convinced that we are attacking them and it is the use and we are
convinced we are under attack andit is weather balloons the bombers are having accidents and they dropped their payload in the middle of the desert. so we are extremely lucky. terrifying one, during the reagan administration, we ran this nato wargame called able archer and the soviet -- the kgb had developed an entire theory that we were going to use wargames as a cover for england had the queen prepare a speech for having what was going to respond now that the atomic missiles were falling on england and all of these were signed to the kgb that we would attack them. that is why the korean airline players came down, it wandered into airspace as they achieved their total paranoia of having these wargames.
>> you touched on this when you spoke of where you would prefer to live but the fact is that people perceive risks rationally and behave irrationally regardless -- regarding what is risky, relatively speaking. hundreds of thousands of people --h year, even with lower high pollution standards in various countries died from emphysema and other respiratory problems and despite fossil fuels and i could go on and on. cliff, itoes over a makes news. if 100 automobiles are involved in fatal collisions, people die one at a time, it doesn't make news but the reality of the nuclear plan is much better deal for civilization. craig: i agree with you.
after chernobyl, the uss summit five people die, the biggest you and critics as this is wrong, at least 16 dozen people died and then i point out how in the u.s., 16,000 die every year from pollution caused by using call to produce electricity. that when you have a situation like three mile island where they could have used that to prove that the design of the rich we have in the united states are safe -- because nothing happened to anybody from three mile island that they couldn't even do that. i think every time we have one of these disasters, it is so mishandled that the public business sense of safety in having this go down so there is no political willpower, even though i agree about the truth of the fatalities. -- i am 72 years
old and it was a few decades ago but unless i'm mistaken under the president was, reagan made a joke and i realized that it was still being about bombing moscow get hard by the women with children in moscow when they played it. that went around the world for doctorsweek and until were appealing -- if this is going to blow us up there will be any living thing, when are we going to stop producing these rationale ise nothing and no one is going to stay alive. next absolutely, what am i ever moments in the book was when i have jerome wisner who is kennedy's scientific advisor and
he says in a large white out a consonant completely, we need about 300 atomic weapons and at that moment which was 1962, we had 2300 atomic weapons and we only have seven continents and we only need to wipe out five of hem -- >> you had mentioned a statistic that only 1% of people have cancer from the radiation. why was it so minimal? >> apparently, it takes a lot
more -- it -- a massive amount of exposure for you to actually have cancer affects from radiation, much more than any of us would imagine. that if one ofng us or two of us were 10 of us -- we would have more of a chance of getting cancer than the one insent -- percent? >> day-to-day life, tobacco is the most dangerous method of getting radioactivity tash -- smoking. when i told you about the little that adam spinning things out, the subatomic particles are too fat to penetrate your skin. that is why in the movie silkwood there is all those scenes of naked meryl streep writing in agony as men's rotterdam. they were washing the radiation away. if you add a provision without inhalend you didn't
anything and you didn't swallow anything, you could take a shower and you would be of her. >> i remember reading that this was worse than the plant. onainted the radium dials fox, i remember mike pence having those clocks, you could see them in the dark. they look the brushes because it worked better. every single one of those people died 10 years later -- 12 years later because they were licking the brush. they were sharpening the brushes with their mouth and using the radiation as makeup that those women died, those were the first people to sue their employer for unsafe working conditions and that case became the foundation of osha. the occupational safety.
>> i study with the descendents theit is believed that reason for the second world war was to make sure acer well were never happened and the reason for the king speech is because britain was so excited about joining the allies or joining the other side because they knew when the war ended, britain ofld wind up paying the bulk the destruction in germany and that is why they went almost bankrupt. they lost one third of their colonies in colonialism, all in total after world war ii. my question is does america consult with heather there a speech like the king speech? i don't believe that the united nations -- there is the league of nations and they invaded,
japan gave up on league of because the first world war. pricet is the american for dropping the atomic bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki? britain lost one third of her colonies and britain give up colonialism. what is american pride, what is theership of it was in mark second question is, what is america's price and dropping these bombs. >> monetary price? program cost $2 billion but the program to make a plan to drop the bomb cost $19 billion. so that is one of the funny iron
is about all of this. it costs a lot more to make the plane that could carry the bomb that it cost to make the actual bomb. i'm not sure about the speech, truman is not one of my favorite president. decision-making by the dropping of the bomb, i don't know why he had shot two of them. fantasticower is a president and one of the reasons why is he started something called adams for the peace which was to exploit the peace but use of atomic energy and not just have it for military and that is where the drive to create nuclear power -- power plant began and as part of our trying forake up to the japanese their infected tuna, we give them atomic power plants, that was part of the apology to the japanese.
>> that stop hitler's invasion and i think it are stopped is invasion right away -- the end ii,orld war i, world war when thetheater but bomb was dropped on june 12 in japan, the japanese didn't even know they had been hit, how is that possible? it was not dropped in europe, it was only dropped in japan. >> that tells you to be careful what you really internet. anyone else? >> when it comes to power plants
using nuclear power, what is your thoughts on the prospect of fusion power? sounds like this possibly conflicts like it will never come -- not in the near future anyway. >> it also sounds widely dangerous to me as they create a little tiny stars. but the theory behind it is fantastic. if it ever works, in a the greatest thing that ever happens we have terrible energy problems and if any of you are tinkering in the basement of garages, please take her on energy, we need help, right now, what is going on is that china is working on something called a pebble bed isctor where the uranium cold and tired of graphite and the concept is that if something happens to it, it can cause any trouble or fallout, it will
immediately extinguish itself since china is terribly polluted -- if they come up with the breakthrough, that would be a tremendous help for us all. then bill gates is a 40 something called the traveling and the people behind is a little kind of the reactor like you have at your house. , the don't understand people designing this have at least a lot of the details so i don't know about that. then the fusion reactor you're talking about is something iter.d i -- this is a coalition in the south of france. lawrence has been trying to 1955 atusion since something called the national ignition facility and for the first time since then, since 60 years before that, they created something it creates more electricity than it costs them to make it.
so they did make this breakthrough. we need something to happen. question, i have always been wondering why the u.s. and soviet union and china -- these three countries, they are a threat to each other. russia is afraid of the u.s. and what is the paranoia among these three countries? >> that is a good question and in this history, in the what it is like no matter the u.s. or the soviet union or china do, it makes everyone else more. the cuban missile crisis makes thatca military hysterical
there were able to state missiles and right under our noses so that means we need even more nuclear weapons and it made the soviets hysterical that the americans were able to force them to remove those missiles so they needed nor -- more nuclear weapons. every single thing triggers or does -- there is a great church "after a simpler -- certain amount of no clear material, all you're doing is making the rubble bounce. i say that apparently, no matter what happened, both sides, all they wanted was more bouncing, they didn't care if it was rubble, they just needed more bouncing. whereis a fantastic quote one of the consultants were at the pentagon and he was going over the work plan and he says you know, everything is based on attacking the soviet union and china together, what if china has nothing to do with it russian mark the guy says i hope
that doesn't happen because that will really mess up our plans. yes ma'am? may leave the door open at night, because they like to blow the uranium. we are all over the place, are we getting the same kind of effect? any cancer from these cell phones and gadgets people have? >> no. one little part about all of this is the fact that radiation is all over the place. it is descending on us, it is rising up from uranium and thorium detained. it is in our margrave of an, your dog and cat are radioactive, your friends and family are radioactive. we are also radioactive we are also radioactive that we are radioactive iterating each other.
this radiation is what causes human chemistry. that's part one. , there needs to be a lot more than what we are getting already in a today life. for example, the ways you can get it are by sunburn, getting cancer through sunburn. having radon in your basement. smoking, there is a radioactive polonium in tobacco leaves. that's pretty much it. you don't have to worry about fukushima, or these other things, computers, anything like that. you only have to worry about the basement and the sun, and smoking. that's not good if you are surrounded by a lot of smokers.
[indiscernible] >> exactly. if you are under an unusual medical situation and you're getting a lot of different diagnostics and don't have one doctor who is overseeing all of these things, you need to add them up. >> are there any prospects of the fukushima problem being resolved, rather than being a serialized tv movie? >> they are doing this wild thing. they're putting in these giant pipes of coolant to freeze the ground. they are trying to freeze the area around it and have a no man's land like a chernobyl. is onhink this technology to keep it from leaking into the ocean, or into japan. i hope that is true, i hope that
resulted. the amazing thing is they airn't -- they have an open laboratory going on in chernobyl. they are finding less than we would expect. they have a barn swallows that have a higher rate of -- a certain percentage of them have smaller brains than normal. a higher percentage are albino than normal. it's not affecting the population as a whole. bones thatind most are wildly radioactive, meaning the wolf eight these radioactive most. the wolf population doesn't seem to be affected. the disturbing thing that is bacteria turns
biological waste into mulch. and that has been cratered. it is not mulching like it said. the forest isn't decaying like it is supposed to. >> i think we are having more problems with more mountains -- violence from people who didn't care about where it was going to go. a lot of things are going on out there. >> toxic. men episodemous mad where they go on the picnic and throw all of their trash in the part and leave. i think that explains a lot of what we are living with today with that toxic chemical. washington, where they created patrol -- plutonium.
both the soviet union and united states put a lot of its military nuclear waste in mental oil drums and drop them into the ocean. now the islands are like radioactive coral because they had waste dumped there. >> i wanted to say something else. thel eag -- the league of nations put a heavy margin on germany that when hillary won the election, people work 14 hours a day in factories. elected, hee got was breaking the backs of the people. was bombed, the andror was contacted by us he did not give up.
and didn't want to repeat the mistakes of the league of nations. they created a rebuilding of japan. look at what is happening. one of the biggest economies in the world. world war one a or world war ii that has one big war with a break. that is the current military thinking about them. [indiscernible] >> is the nuclear age over, and should it be? >> i wish it wasn't, but i think it is over. i think we are seeing the following of part of it now. iran havinged about
a nuclear device, but that is the only nation we have an worried about for a long time. it isn't like you would think, with the fall of the soviet union, everybody would want one. it actually isn't happening. we have already lived through killed tens of millions of people without dropping a device. [inaudible] >> i think every time we have an accident, it is grossly mismanaged that they destroy the political willpower to maintain nuclear power. glad that china and vietnam, for example, are building a lot of nuclear plants. it would be a great benefit to the world to have them use less
coal and more nuclear. in the developing countries, it seems to be on its last legs, unless we have this technique -- unless we have the technological breakthrough. >> people shouldn't always be on restaurantear, row on nine nanometer -- 9th avenue, a lot of people had to put up signs that our seafood doesn't come from japan. some did go out of business. had to promisell roosevelt that they would give up their colonies in order to get americans support for entering the war. they really were afraid of hitler. pregnantas a naked woman, i wouldn't eat fish i caught myself off the shores of
fukushima. other than that, we have had someone, remember that bomb we should you, we had someone return to the bikini islands to test it for radiation. it was assumed there would be a lot all over because they had one bomb after another blow up there. this wasn't a power plant melting down, it was huge devices being exploded. the only radiation they could find was in the sandstone tombstones. the rest of it had been disbursed by the effects of the ocean. our fears of fukushima water contaminating us aren't anywhere near as bad as mercury poisoning in fish already. ok, thank you very much. [applause]
thank you. did you have a good time? oh good. >> on history bookshelf, and here from the country's known american history writers of the past decade every saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. watch any of our programs anytime when you visit c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> coming up, new year's weekend on c-span. eastern,t 8:00 p.m. north korean refugees describe life under the kim regime. in china, tens of thousands
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eastern, a tech blogger summit on the self driving revolution. at noon, former clinton administration officials on the legacy of resident bill clinton. >> he knew who he was playing for, he got there every day, he knew the people he wanted to help. in, when times were good and times were bad, all the cared about was could he deliver for the people who needed the government to be on their side question mark >> watch this new year's weekend on c-span. tonight on "lectures in history," i was state history university professor teaches a class on food during the great depression. was a very public process, because what happened after you got aid was your name when in the paper -- went in the paper. this was when the government published their bills.
instead of just having one line where it said aid to the poor, it had a lot of lines, and it listed by name the people who were getting money. everybody knew who in the community was getting aid, which meant you have to be willing to have the rest of everybody see your poverty in order to do this. it is another reason why a lot of people resisted asking for help. >> watch the entire program at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern, tonight on "lectures in history" american history tv, only on c-span3. c-span's studentcam, the tweets say it all. studentcam in action. splicing for constitutional documentaries. this group showed us how it is done. two stellar interviews in one day. the students had hard-hitting
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david fanning, founder and executive producer of drain,ine." and margaret former executive producer of "american experience." the library of congress cohosted the 45 minute event. "how to book balance back in copyright," she coordinates the fair use and free speech project at the center with the professor of the washington college of law. >> what a great pleasure it is. i feel like my life is passing before me. be on a panel with these people is really e